Can new technologies reduce bias? A webinar discussion on innovation


Last month, Ex Libris and Innovative, both part of Clarivate, hosted professor and author Orly Lobel for an engaging conversation on new innovations in technology. Lobel advocates for a pragmatic approach to new technologies. She challenges us to explore how organizations and individuals can effectively harness these technologies to foster equality and create a better future. 

Judith Fraenkel, director of product management and lead of Ex Libris products DEI strategy, opens the webinar with personal stories and shares a parallel between human tools and technological products: 

“Human tools such as chairs and scissors, are not different than technological products such as search engines, library systems and social platforms; they are in essence the same thing. They have a purpose in assisting people in different areas and tasks, but they are also mirrors that reflect our societal and individual values. Ex Libris as a company has an impact on people, students and researchers and library staff, and we are committed to help create a better and more inclusive world through our products.” 

Lobel delves into the importance of using a “comparative lens” to evaluate new technologies in a rational manner. She says: “We need a more accurate conversation about what we fear, what the risks, the potential, and the promise are.” Illustrating her idea with the example of self-driving vehicles, she explains: 

“When an autonomous vehicle in Arizona gets into an accident, the immediate reaction is to assume that the technology is unsafe. But the right question to ask would be, ‘Is it safer than the status quo?’” 

She shares the potential of artificial intelligence in reducing cognitive bias introduced by human decision-making processes. In the labor market for example, companies have already started using software to identify and address pay gaps: 

“Gender and racial pay gaps in the labor market have been here for the past few decades. And what’s been really revolutionary is the use by companies of software that helps audit, detect, and offer ways to tackle those gaps.” 

During this thought-provoking session, Orly Lobel invites us to seize the opportunities presented by new technologies to create a fairer world. Discover how these advancements can foster equity and inclusion in academia and the broader world. Watch the replay of the webinar here 

Ex Libris remains steadfast in its commitment to building a better and more compassionate present and future via its services and products. Beyond serving libraries and their users, we believe they can be instrumental in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. The impact of people on technology – and not only technology on people – is one of our focuses. This can be achieved both by employee diversity and collaboration with our community of users. We are fortunate that both are global and foster this diversity and share these values. 

Learn more about Innovative’s initiatives to support diversity, equity and inclusion here.